Warnings: Language, Angst
Pairings: 3+4
Rating: PG-13
By: Aya

Darker Side of Death + Part Three

The safe house looked dark and desolate as Trowa rode up to it on his stolen motorbike. He stopped several yards away from it and squinted. There didn't seem to be any lights on inside, no sign of movement at all. He hopped off the bike gracefully and shrugged on his large backpack before walking slowly over to the house.

He entered cautiously and instead of calling out for one of the others, Trowa put a hand on the comforting weight of his gun where it rested in the holster under his shirt.

He moved stealthily away from the door and froze when he heard a soft rustling sound coming from the other room. Moving cautiously, Trowa entered what looked to be the living room and spotted the source of the noise. Immediately the Latin boy relaxed and a smile played on his lips as he eyed his blond lover. Quatre was sprawled unceremoniously on the couch and seemed to be holding a pillow over his face.

"I don't know which one of you that is and I don't care. Go away!" Came his muffled voice from beneath the pillow.

Trowa smirked and walked over, crouching down beside the other teenager's body. He reached out and ruffled Quatre's silky blond hair playfully. "Hey, you."

One blue-green eye peeked out from behind the pillow. "Trowa? Is that really you or am I imaging that it's you?"

Trowa raised an eyebrow and didn't dignify that question with an answer. Instead he began tugging the pillow away from the slender hands that were clutching it. "I missed you," He said softly and leaned down for a long, slow kiss.

When they parted, Quatre sat up and stared at his boyfriend sulkily. "Well, I'm mad at you."

"What have I done now?"

Quatre toyed with a loose thread from the couch. "You left me alone with those two hardheaded fools. They've been driving me crazy."

Trowa chuckled. "Arguing as usual?"

"Yes and worse. Duo seems to have lost his mind and I'm afraid Heero is going to start thinking that he shouldn't be a part of the team anymore. It's just one big mess."

"What happened?" The taller pilot demanded, concern washing over his features.

Quatre began going over the details of the past couple of weeks quickly. Starting with Duo's uncharacteristic behavior, to his own short temper and ending with the conversation he had just had with Heero.

Trowa leaned back on his haunches and mulled the situation over quietly. His lean face was set in a pensive scowl. "Has anyone spoken to Duo in detail about what's going on with him? Tried to talk to him without yelling and sarcasm?" He asked with a raised brow.

The blond pilot dropped his gaze and fiddled with the string from the couch. "Well... not exactly," He mumbled. When Trowa sighed and started to stand, Quatre looked up indignantly. "I told you! I've been having a hard time dealing with all of this stress. I know that usually I'm level headed and everything, but lately ... lately everything has just been so weird! I don't even feel like myself anymore. It's like my own emotions are feeding off of Duo's turmoil and it's making me act so ... different!" Quatre sank back against the sofa and puffed out a frustrated sigh.

Trowa sat down beside his lover and began rubbing one slender shoulder soothingly. "Well, maybe that's just it then."

Quatre's delicate features screwed together in a confused scowl. "What's just what then?" He asked irritably.

Trowa gazed at him patiently. "Maybe whatever causes you to feel other people's emotions is what is making you so ... belligerent lately. Maybe not only are you aware of Duo's distress, but you have come to a point where it is directly affecting your own thoughts and moods," he suggested and tapped Quatre's chest with his long index finger. "Your ... " He let the sentence trail off, not really knowing what to call Quatre's peculiar sixth sense.

Quatre smiled wearily. "My uchuu no kokoro." After a moment he opened his mouth to explain the meaning but Trowa cut him off before he could voice the translation.

"Heart of Universe?" He asked with a puzzled frown. When Quatre looked at him in surprise, Trowa shrugged. "I told you I used to travel with mercenaries. They were from places all over earth and the colonies. I learned many things from them, including bits of Japanese and other languages."

"When I was still in my father's home, I was afraid to tell him about my gift so I tried to study it in secret. I did learn that I'm not the only person with this ability and that it's mostly called 'uchuu no kokoro ' or Space Heart. I don't know why. The smaller boy sighed and looked at the ceiling. "I never got a chance to learn a lot about it, so I don't know exactly if what you suggested is true. I guess it could be... and it would explain a lot, but don't you think it's odd that this has never happened before?"

"I don't know Quatre. Perhaps it's because Duo's distress is so strong now."

Quatre nodded. "You know, now I feel bad for snapping at him so much. We do need to talk to him, it's not good for him to be all alone when he is feeling like this."

Trowa stood up and stretched in the process, causing his sweater to ride up a little and show his toned stomach. He studiously ignored Quatre's coy smirk and pulled the other pilot to his feet. "There is time for that later, now we talk to Duo."

Quatre gave a long suffering sigh and thought of the three long weeks that he had slept alone but he quickly got his priorities straight and thought of his best friend. With a nod he started to lead Trowa to the basement where he had seen Duo go earlier.

+

Someone was calling his name in a very distorted sounding voice. It sounded like someone was playing a recording in slow motion, which basically made everyone sound like they were verbally retarded.

"... D. . uuu ... oooo. . !"

He wished they would shut the hell up. His head was killing him and he was in some kind of unpleasant black void. Or was he asleep? Whatever. Same thing as far as he was concerned. He didn't know why his head felt like someone had kicked it with a Gundam or why he seemed to be floating in... nothing, but it seemed to be much more pleasant than confronting the source of that annoying voice.

"... uuu... OoOOo!"

Great. The idiot was yelling louder now. If he hadn't responded the first ten times what made them think he would respond now? Nothing was dragging him out of this void. Nothing. Especially not a damn slow speaking moron.

"Duo!" The suddenly clear, familiar voice shouted and followed it with a hard smack.

Duo's eyes finally popped open and he stared hazily at the two people who were hovering over him with equally concerned expressions. As he took in the fact that the shirt Quatre was wearing belonged to him and the fact that Trowa had apparently come back from his
mission, everything came flooding back to Duo. Takai, the dream and Solo. Damn it. The back of Duo's eyelids began to burn in warning and he quickly blinked away tears. "What's the big idea? Hitting a guy when he's sleeping?! What kind of stuff is this??" He demanded loudly, trying to appear 'normal' for his teammates and regretting it as the sound of his own voice sent pain shooting through his brain.

"We found you down here unconscious." Trowa said, stating the obvious. He and Heero had a knack for doing that kind of thing.

"Well, n~o freaking shit!" Duo sneered sarcastically and shakily got to his feet, pushing off Quatre's arm when he tried to help. "You found me unconscious and decided that the best plan of action was to beat me awake. How logical."

"Now look Duo -- we were only trying to -- "

Duo cut Quatre off with a wave of his hand. "Trying to help? Well news flash, kid. No one can help me. No one can help me because I'm way fucking beyond helping. I'm so far beyond helping that God couldn't touch this fucking situation. It's a~ll up to me, she said! It's all up to me or everyone dies! As fucking usual!" Duo shouted at no one in particular.

Trowa and Quatre stared at him as if he was a mad man. Well, what the hell. He probably was. "Duo, I'm not totally clear on what's going on so maybe you could --"

+

The Taurus made a last ditch effort to fight, flinging its buster rifles at the mobile suits that were surrounding it.

"Trowa! Look out!" Quatre screamed and hurled Sandrock into the mobile doll that was about to blast Trowa's suit. The Gundam moved jerkily, not responding fast enough to fight off the suits that surrounded them.


+

Duo froze as the visions once again flashed through his mind. It seemed like an eternity before he once again only saw his two concerned friends and not the grisly prophecy.

No longer having the energy to maintain his hostile attitude, Duo cut Trowa off with a wave of his hand. "No. None of you can help me so don't bother trying. I'm... I'm sorry for this, but I can't figure this out and deal with you all at the same time. Just... leave me alone." Before his friends could stop him, Duo moved quickly out of the basement and shakily made his way up the stairs.

 +

Life is kind of funny when you think about it. You start out young and everything around you could be entirely fucked up but you don't notice or complain because it's all you ever knew. All you ever knew was fighting, stealing and sleeping in alleys and abandoned buildings. It's not like you ever complained though, because living in poverty was all you ever knew... and you had nothing to compare it too. Nothing to complain about.

Then as usual karma, fate, God... whatever you think controls this shitty thing called life throws something in the mix that completely shoves you off balance. That's when the whole pattern starts. You think you have everything under control and then something comes along to rock your world.

You're living on the streets... but you're not complaining because at least you're alive. Then your best friend dies. You're living - for once - in a place that's somewhat comfortable and you have something close to a family. Then the church burns down. You become a Gundam pilot which is weird enough... then you adjust to life as a terrorist... but out of nowhere you find out that there really is a God of Death and she thinks you can save the world.

Life was funny like that sometimes.

+

Duo sat on the edge of the windowsill and stared out at the moon. Not even six hours ago, he had been sitting in the exact same spot, but somehow it seemed like a lifetime ago. In those six hours so many things had happened and now he felt like the weight of the world was on his slender shoulders. The lives of his best and only friends depended on him. Their lives depended on whether or not he could shoot someone who was the spitting image of the only mother figure he had ever known.

Earlier that afternoon he hadn't even been thinking about his long dead best friend, but now the pain of losing Solo yet again was still fresh in his mind. Now he feared missions because of his visions but at the same time he was anxious to get it over with so he wouldn't have to sit and wait for death any longer.

The sense of impending doom overwhelmed him and he couldn't remember a time when he had felt so confused. Duo thought about Heero and what Takai had said. It gave him some hope that Heero could possibly feel something for him but at the same time it frightened him that there was a chance that he would never find out.

"Duo."

The longhaired pilot nearly jumped out of his skin and he glared at Heero. "I hate when you sneak up on me," he snapped wearily.

Heero gave a one shouldered shrug and leaned against the doorframe, scrutinizing Duo from under his bangs. His gaze was intense and for a change Duo could actually make out emotions swirling in the dark blue depths. However there were too many for Duo to be able to just pick out one. "We have a mission."

For a moment Duo's heart wrenched painfully in his chest and the world came to a screeching halt. A mission. Was it the mission?

Heero took a step toward his partner and frowned. "Are you --"

"I'm fine," Duo growled and jumped to his feet, fighting the waves of nausea that were attacking him. "Let's get this over with."

There was another long pause before the Wing pilot turned on his heel and marched out of the room like the good little soldier he was. Duo ran a hand through his bangs and followed, wondering why he was suddenly so afraid of death.

[part 2] [part 4] [back to Aya's fic]